Thursday, December 5, 2019

Optimizing Store Checklists with Retail Inspection Software

VisitBasis retail inspection software
Store checklists are notorious for being difficult to plan, implement and report on, especially when the retail inspection encompasses several SKUs across multiple categories. Not only it is time and labor-intensive, but the data processing as a whole - from collection to transcription - is extremely prone to human error.

The best way to optimize store checklists is with retail inspection software, which solves several issues in the checklist process:

1. Tailoring checklists by product category
While management might want tailored information for each product category, checklists tend to be condensed in order to reduce human error in filling them in. With retail inspection software, it is easy to create and report on category-specific tasks with tailored checklists.

2. Tailoring product distribution lists by chain, group, or individual stores
This is another area where human errors are common: Due to the different product selections at each store, reps or inspectors normally receive checklists showing the whole range of SKUs. A retail inspection software allows creating product distribution lists by store or group of stores and then cross-references tasks with these lists, displaying for the rep only the products that should be on the shelves in the first place and removing cluttered information.

3. Excessive paperwork
This comes as no surprise: The virtual elimination of paperwork is one of the biggest advantages of retail inspection software.

4. Time-consuming data transcription
Data transcription not only is time-consuming but also error-prone. It delays reporting and can affect time-sensitive decision-making. Retail inspection software eliminates data transcription from the process and makes data available for reporting as soon as store visits are closed.

Do you want to learn more about how retail inspection software can help you optimize your store checklists? Sign up today for a free trial of VisitBasis at www.visitbasis.com or schedule an online demo at meetme.so/visitbasis.



Wednesday, November 27, 2019

On-Shelf Availability Solutions are Key to Improved Retail Revenues

Knowing if a product is available at stores is of utmost concern for many managers at CPG companies: From merchandising to retail channel operations and from marketing to finance, many departments have their performance measured by how well revenue grows during a fiscal year. Product shortages or recurring stocking issues, however, can seriously affect revenues, especially because shoppers may switch brands because of these issues.

Mobile merchandising software has opened the door for real-time store information to be available to managers at headquarters. Merchandisers and field reps can just fill in forms and checklists on smartphones and tablets and the information is immediately synchronized with the Cloud, where managers use the data to generate reports.

A more recent upgrade to mobile merchandising software, however, is image recognition. With image recognition, data that was previously unquantifiable can now be automatically translated into table reports and charts. From a shelf picture, for instance, data on product on-shelf availability and share of shelf can be extracted.

When it comes to on-shelf availability solutions, BrandML offers a high-tech yet easy-to-implement alternative. BrandML is the image recognition technology from VisitBasis, developer of the namesake merchandising software.

BrandML works by training a neural network to identify the client's product on store shelves. Once this training is done, all reps need to do is take pictures of product shelves at stores and management will be able to generate reports on product and brand KPIs that can then be used to better strategize on product on-shelf availability solutions.

Interested in implementing the BrandML on-shelf availability solution? Contact VisitBasis today by accessing our website at www.visitbasis.com.


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Mobile Merchandising Software Brings Stores to Headquarters

mobile merchandising software
Merchandising and brand managers traditionally work at a CPG manufacturer headquarters or regional office, isolated and sometimes blissfully unaware of what actually goes on with their product or brand at actual stores. This not only affects their perception of their product's positioning, placement, and price but it may lead to inappropriate strategies, damaging sales in the long run.

Mobile merchandising software has been transformational for retail operations. It allows field reps to access documents, fill in forms and answer questions on smartphones and tablets. Not only this virtually eliminates paperwork from the process, but it also offers the following benefits:

Instant access to results, in table and chart formats, by headquarters
With mobile merchandising software, as soon as in-store activities are finished and synchronized, captured data is available on the Cloud for reporting and analyzing by merchandising and retail channel managers.

Actual pictures offer a real-live view of product, brand, and campaign strategy implementation
Planning is very different than real-life implementation especially in retail, where local socio-economic and cultural factors can affect how a product, category, or campaign is perceived by shoppers. Real-life pictures captured by a merchandising app can offer strategy feedback and help tweak on-going and future plans.

GPS verification of audits discourages fraudulent merchandiser behavior
One of the most common complaints from CPG companies on merchandisers is that they tend to on purpose perform in-store activities at the wrong location in order to save time. This obviously skews audit and survey results and can result in long-term negative effects on strategies. Mobile merchandising software discourages this behavior by tracking the GPS coordinates of merchandisers while they work and GPS-verifying store visits.

Interested in learning more about the VisitBasis mobile merchandising software? Go to www.visitbasis.com to sign up for a free trial and schedule an online demo with us.


Friday, November 22, 2019

Product Recognition for On-Shelf Availability Tracking

Tracking on-shelf availability of products is one of the most mission-critical initiatives CPG companies carry. When there is no product on store shelves, there can be no sales. And, along with losing the transaction revenue, there is always the risk of losing the customer for good and any future sales since customers rarely go through the trouble of looking for a missing product in other stores. Instead, they tend to choose an alternative, competitor product - and they might like it, permanently switching to another brand.

Despite its importance, on-shelf availability of products tended to be tracked manually, not only leaving a lot of room for human errors in data collection and transcribing but also little opportunity for planning.

With advances in mobile technology, merchandising apps helped expedite the process, but it still left room for errors when it came to misidentifying products or improperly counting faces or calculating percentages.

Now, artificial intelligence is bringing in the newest developments in mobile merchandising software with product recognition for on-shelf availability detection. What this means is that merchandisers at stores will only need to take one picture of the target product shelf and data - such as on-shelf availability and share of shelf - will be automatically extracted from it, making it possible for merchandising and distribution managers to generate instant reports and tweak their planning in order to avoid out-of-stocks.

BrandML is the product recognition technology for on-shelf availability detection from VisitBasis. Not only does it bring state-of-the-art tools to merchandising software, but BrandML is also cost-effective and fast to implement. To learn more about BrandML product recognition for on-shelf availability, go to www.visitbasis.com and contact us!



Wednesday, November 20, 2019

How did Merchandising Software Change Retail Marketing?

Retail marketing has been going through many changes lately brought by technology but mobile applications are probably what affected the industry the most. Merchandising software is now a welcome reality for marketing agencies, distributors, manufacturers and retailers alike since they streamline a clumsy, old-fashioned process by virtually doing away with paper-based merchandising audits.

But what are the key aspects of how merchandising software changed retail marketing?

Solutions to mission-critical issues come faster 
Paper-based audits, in addition to being inefficient, are prone to human error in every step of the way, from incorrect product identification to cumbersome data transcription. If a rep notices a product is out-of-stock and checks his/her paper form, he/she will have to notify the office via phone call or email, or corrective action will have to wait until someone goes through every store audit form. Also, sales and marketing managers have to wait until all data is transcribed in order to run reports. With merchandising software, data is available to decision-makers as soon as visits are finished, so they can generate reports, calculate KPIs and tweak strategies mid-campaigns.

Good-bye to merchandisers managing paperwork at stores
There is no more paper in retail marketing. Merchandising software allows for reps and auditors to perform in-store activities on mobile devices and therefore are a much better solution than the clumsy paper-and-clipboard.

Improved brand compliance
It is easier to communicate with reps through merchandising software since managers can supply detailed documents, such as visual planograms and display instructions, to retail reps.  Additionally, feedback is also improved, as most merchandising software solutions provide the capability of capturing photos.

VisitBasis merchandising software is the ideal solution for marketing and merchandising managers that are looking for ways to streamline store sets, resets, and audits. VisitBasis provides a complete solution that includes full customization of the tasks performed by field reps at the stores, as well as real-time access to visit results through web-based dashboards and reports.

Interested in learning more about retail merchandising software? Schedule an online demo or sign up for a free trial!




Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Image Recognition Software for Retail Delivers Instant KPIs

Calculating key performance indicators are a must in merchandising and product management, but getting source data for these calculations can be tricky.

First of all, analysts and managers at central offices rely on field reps to either count the number of products/faces and gather competitor numbers, or the reps perform calculations such as share of shelf by themselves. In both cases, the risk of human error is high and, over many stores, can seriously skew the final KPIs and negatively impact strategies.

New advances in artificial intelligence have given rise to much-needed image recognition software for retail, which allows quantifiable data to be extracted from pictures. With image recognition software for retail, field reps only need to take one picture of the category shelf and KPIs will be automatically extracted, as well as compiled with data from other stores in the Cloud.

Managers and analysts at central offices can then generate reports and visualizations on the collected data, including out-of-stocks, share of shelf, product availability, competitor availability, and promotions, among others, and then filter stores by any criteria deemed useful for building their strategies.

VisitBasis, creator of the namesake mobile merchandising application chosen by many market leaders in the CPG and product distribution industries, has developed its own image recognition software for retail: BrandML. Despite its advanced technology, BrandML is cost-effective and implementing it only takes a few weeks.

Interested in learning more about the BrandML image recognition software for retail? Contact us at www.visitbasis.com.



Thursday, October 17, 2019

Gathering Shopper Insights with Retail Audit Software

Consumer Product Goods (CPG) businesses are constantly trying to get into the mind of customers in order to develop new successful product strategies. However, while customer surveys are the traditional way to go, they can lead to skewed results, mostly because of the customer already knowing that he or she is being surveyed.

Retail audit software, along with careful in-store activity planning, can help category and merchandising managers find shopper insights hidden within the data collected. For instance, one of the most basic uses for retail audit software is to notify management of unexpected out-of-stocks.

By analyzing the data collected over several recurring visits, it is possible to detect an increase in out-of-stocks around certain dates. Such data can then be used to back up strategic decisions, like launching a seasonal version of a product or rolling out promotional displays. Likewise, in-store activities can be designed to keep track of product and/or category presentation, competitor strategies, among others.

Not only does retail audit software allow for the custom audits to be performed more frequently, since it virtually eliminates time-wasting paperwork and data transcription, but it also delivers when it comes to access to the data collected. Cloud-based solutions for retail audits normally include a reporting interface that allows real-time access to spreadsheet, chart, and map reports.

VisitBasis retail audit software provides all the tools necessary to set up and execute in-store activities, from custom checklists and questionnaires that include photo answers to real-time access to captured data and GPS verification of visits.

Try VisitBasis today! Sign up for a free trial or schedule an online demo.


Monday, September 23, 2019

3 Ways to Boost Brick-and-Mortar Sales with Field Merchandising Software

A lot has been said about how brick-and-mortar retailers are losing ground to Internet sales. However, research - and revenue - has shown that some physical stores and brands within these stores can maintain a competitive advantage retaining repeat customers if they manage to:

Ensure product availability
One sure way to lose a customer is to not have product available at the store at the time of purchase. With field merchandising software, distribution and store operations can have a system in place to frequently perform product counts and check out for out-of-stocks in order to better time shipments.

Improve presentation
Presentation at the point of sale can make or break product sales but package design is not the only consideration since many things can happen between factory and shelf - from leaks to damaged boxes and tampering. Recurring store audits on field merchandising software can greatly improve presentation consistency and make management know of any pressing issues at the points of sale.

Engage with customer
A lot can be learned by talking with customers. However, the old paper form method is highly time-consuming and can lead to inaccuracies, especially during the data transcription process. Electronic customer surveys through field merchandising software are straightforward to implement, tweak, and report on, and can increase awareness of customer wants and needs.

VisitBasis is a comprehensive field merchandising software system for businesses of all sizes, from small marketing agencies to large CPG companies and retail chains. VisitBasis allows creating custom forms not only for retail audits but also for in-store surveys, making it easy for merchandising, category, or distribution managers to gather store and shopper insights, and provides real-time access to the captured data with both tabulated and visual reports.

Online demos of the VisitBasis field merchandising software can be scheduled at http://meetme.so/visitbasis. For more information and to sign up for a free trial, go to www.visitbasis.com.




Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Image Recognition for Retail Execution and Merchandising Software

Retail execution and merchandising software have revolutionized the way store audits were performed with the virtual elimination of paper forms and transcription that came with the advent of data collection apps for smartphones and tablets.

Now a second revolution is coming: The one of artificial intelligence applied to store audits. Image recognition for retail execution and merchandising software allows for information to be extracted directly from photos taken by field personnel at the stores.

This means that, instead of filling in information on the number of product and competitor faces, for instance, reps will just take a picture of the target product category. Pictures will be then sent to Cloud servers where a neural network will analyze them and provide instant information on share-of-shelf and other retail KPIs.

One can see how image recognition for retail execution and merchandising software saves not only time but also reduces human error when, for instance, counting product and category faces at the store, especially considering the accuracy of over 95% that some systems provide.

BrandML is the image recognition technology developed by VisitBasis, provider of the namesake retail execution and merchandising software chosen by many CPG, distribution, and marketing businesses. While groundbreaking, BrandML can be implemented in a short period of time and is cost-effective, making it a realistic technology upgrade for retail-focused businesses of all sizes.

Want to learn more about the BrandML image recognition technology? Go to www.visitbasis.com and contact us!


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Retail Store Audit Software Optimizes Calculating KPIs

VisitBasis retail store audit software, merchandising scorecard, merchandising KPI
Calculating retail merchandising metrics such as product, category, and store KPIs is an essential part of many businesses, from large CPG companies to supermarket and drugstore chains. However, collecting the source data beyond what is supplied by cash registers can be incredibly complex, since it might involve ground teams with dozens or even hundreds of people.

Retail merchandising metrics include traditional concepts such as share of shelf, out-of-stocks, damaged units, promotions, product positioning on store or shelf, but can also include custom scorecard KPIs like display visibility, customer engagement, visual planogram compliance, among others.

By adopting retail store audit software, a business will not only optimize the data collection step of this process, as ground personnel will use their mobile devices to fill in forms, but will also completely skip data transcription and access reports as soon as devices are synced.

Some retail store audit software systems even allow for businesses to automatically connect the data source to their preferred reporting or scorecard tool through APIs, leading to a seamless transition for analysts and other merchandising data stakeholders.

VisitBasis is a comprehensive retail store audit software for businesses of all sizes. VisitBasis allows creating custom forms in order to gather all the metrics necessary to calculate standard or custom Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), providing real-time access to the captured data with tabulated and visual reports, as well as Rest/API connection.

Online demos of the VisitBasis retail store audit software can be scheduled at http://meetme.so/visitbasis. For more information and to sign up for a free trial, go to www.visitbasis.com.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Machine Learning and Image Recognition in Retail

image recognition in retail merchandising
References to machine learning seem to be everywhere these days. From new university-level courses to magazine articles and social media posts, daily we encounter new information on artificial intelligence and machine learning. But how can those new technologies be applied to improve retail operations?

One of the main ways that machine learning can help retail is when it comes to quantifying data that previously came as individual pieces of information while surveying stores, such as images.
Image recognition in retail is one of the best examples of the use of machine learning in merchandising applications. 

Machine learning allows images to be fed by programmers into a mobile merchandising system in order to train a neural network to identify product faces on outlet shelves.

Then, field staff can simply take pictures of the store shelves on their mobile merchandising apps and the system will be able to identify - with accuracy that reaches 95% - the number of faces of the target product, as well as compare it to competitor brands and automatically calculate share of shelf.

Merchandising managers and other stakeholders can, in real-time, access the results of store audits, filtering the quantified data and generating reports and visualizations according to their needs on KPIs such as out-of-stocks, share of shelf, product availability, competitor availability, and promotions, among others, and make faster mission-critical decisions.

BrandML is the image recognition technology developed by VisitBasis, creator of the namesake mobile merchandising software chosen by many market leaders in the CPG and product distribution industries.

Want to know more about machine learning and image recognition in retail? Contact www.visitbasis.com and ask about the new BrandML technology.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Share of Shelf with BrandML


image recognition for retail merchandising
Calculating share of shelf for retail goods used to be a tedious and error-prone process: It involved merchandisers counting the number of target product faces, then the number of competitor product faces, for each and every store where the product was being sold.

Machine learning has recently introduced image recognition technology in retail and is now transforming how merchandising audits are performed.

BrandML is the image recognition technology developed by VisitBasis, creator of the mobile merchandising software chosen by many market leaders in the CPG and product distribution industries.

BrandML allows merchandisers to calculate product share of shelf simply by taking a picture of the category shelving at each store.

The neural network that supports BrandML is first "trained" with pictures supplied by the client. This allows the system, with around 95% accuracy, to recognize the target products in the pictures taken by merchandisers and automatically generate share of shelf and other KPI reports and visualizations, including out-of-stocks, product availability, competitor availability, promotions, among others.

VisitBasis combined with BrandML becomes an extremely powerful tool for merchandising, sales, and channel management, as VisitBasis already provides GPS-stamped visit scheduling and planning and also allows building custom forms for in-store activities.

Interested in using image recognition to automatically calculate share of shelf for your product lines in the different outlets? Contact www.visitbasis.com and ask about our new BrandML technology.


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

How to Address Visual Merchandising Challenges with a Mobile App

Visual merchandising is a lot more than just arranging products in an attractive way in order to drive sales. It involves creating an all-around pleasant shopper experience and, as one would expect, has many challenges. However, the source for these visual merchandising challenges, especially for large CPG and apparel companies, can be traced to one main reason: Dealing with different channels sometimes in opposite sides of the spectrum.

The advent of smartphones and mobile apps has brought merchandising software that allows for digital in-store data collection, eliminating the traditional pen-and-paper and, with it, the dreaded error and delay-prone transcription.

However, for visual merchandising, checkboxes, text-, and number-type answers are obviously not enough. A mobile app must also capture time and location-stamped photos in order to help VM planners deal with the following:

Limited display space: GPS-stamped pictures help VM planners take different outlet types, layouts, and space constraints into consideration when designing props and product arrangement.

Limited flexibility: While displayed in stores, products are competing with other products, as well as with larger building or furnishing structures, for customer attention and visual merchandisers can better plan displays when they know these variables beforehand through location-accurate pictures and also verify the effectiveness of their props and arrangements with post-set inspections.

Conflicting interests: The decision of where and how to display products is normally made at a much higher corporate level than visual merchandising planners, who have to work around the constraints imposed by the conflicting interests of product manufacturers and retailers. GPS- and time-stamped pictures can help VM planners work around these constraints and find more shopper-friendly ways to display their product lines, as well as inspect compliance of existing displays.

VisitBasis is a mobile app that allows for visual merchandising managers to design their own custom store survey and post-set inspections of their products displays at geographically-dispersed stores. You can sign up for a free trial of VisitBasis at www.visitbasis.com or schedule an online demo at http://meetme.so/visitbasis.


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Tracking On-Shelf Availability Has Never Been Easier

Tracking on-shelf availability and planogram compliance used to be the bane of every category manager's existence since it is literally impossible to physically supervise many stores over large geographical territories. Having a merchandising team in place definitely helps, but gathering information on pen and paper through many people tends to lead to many entry errors.

Merchandising software has eased the lives of category managers with digital data collection, but still, they have to deal with many solutions not meant for the specific purpose of tracking on-shelf availability at stores.

Some merchandising software, however, do have embedded solutions for properly tracking on-shelf availability, and they include:

  1. The ability to set up SKU distribution or must-stock-lists by store, set of stores or chain
    This allows the mobile app to display only the products that should be available at each location, reducing the possibility of merchandiser mistakes.
  2. Fully customizable forms
    By allowing category managers to fully customize forms, merchandising software more than just a way to track on-shelf availability and planogram compliance. Fully customizable forms enable many other in-store activities - such as customer surveys, sets/ resets, and competition assessment - using the same platform.
  3. GPS and time stamps
    Information on on-shelf availability of items is only valuable if backed up by location and time data. A fraudulent check-in, for instance, may result in extra shipments to a store that does not need them.
  4. Instant access to captured data
    The timeliness access to on-shelf availability of items is of utmost importance since a lack of products at stores means no sale.
VisitBasis merchandising software provides all of the above solutions for streamlining on-shelf availability and planogram compliance checks. From any desktop or notebook, category managers have immediate access to survey reports as soon as the reps close their visits, and are able to plan ahead using the data captured.

See today how VisitBasis can help you keep track of your product's on-shelf availability. Sign up for a free trial at www.visitbasis.com.



Monday, April 29, 2019

How Merchandising Software Streamlines Planogram Compliance

merchandising software for planogram compliance checks
Planogram compliance checks and retail audits take a lot of people and, along with it, exponential amounts of paperwork and transcription effort.

Because of that, merchandising software has gained a loyal following among CPG companies and their sales and marketing agencies. But in which ways is merchandising software streamlining planogram compliance checks?

Big data, little effort
Many merchandisers at numerous stores auditing several products generate a gigantic amount of data. Naturally, transcribing and processing this data in order to find specific issues or trends when the data comes as paper forms are laborious and tedious work. Merchandising software allows for data to be captured in digital forms on mobile devices, thereby completely bypassing the transcription stage and delivering data ready to be analyzed.

No more paperwork
The amount of paperwork generated by planogram compliance checks is immense. Merchandising software brings planogram compliance checklists onto mobile devices, which translates into the complete elimination of paperwork from the process.

Real-time results
Due to the long time it takes, and the possibility of mistakes at every type, data transcription used to be the major roadblock in delivering planogram compliance check results to the appropriate stakeholder. With merchandising software, even merchandising and marketing directors in headquarter offices can have instant access to worldwide planogram compliance surveys, thus shortening immensely the time it takes to detect trends and evaluate strategies.

VisitBasis is a comprehensive merchandising software that allows managers to create the digital forms and checklists necessary to properly and quickly evaluate in-store planogram compliance. See what VisitBasis can do for your business: Sign up for a free trial or schedule an online demo.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Increasing Customer-Facing Time with Field Merchandising Software

Knowing your customer is the first step in having a successful business. However, for CPG businesses, sometimes the customer might seem unreachable, especially considering all the layers of distributors and retailers between them.

Therefore, having merchandisers at retailers performing customer surveys is one of the traditional ways that manufacturers have to get in touch with their market and field merchandising software has revolutionized the way these surveys are performed.

Before, customer survey data had to be recorded in writing on paper forms. This obviously generates an immense amount of information that has to be then transcribed before being analyzed so any initiative of such kind ends up being rarely performed.

With field merchandising software, once data is captured it is ready to be analyzed. This means that marketing and merchandising managers can implement customer survey initiatives as they see fit, therefore increasing customer-facing time and having more opportunities to gather shopper insights.

Better yet, field merchandising software allows for customizable forms, making it easier for management to tweak their customer surveys along the way, according to the information that has already been collected, leading to a much more dynamic and effective process.

Looking into gathering shopper insights by performing in-store customer surveys? See how VisitBasis field merchandising software can help you make it happen: Schedule an online demo at http://meetme.so/visitbasis.

To sign up for a VisitBasis free trial, go to http://www.visitbasis.com.


Thursday, January 31, 2019

Merchandising Software Delivers Environmentally-Friendly Retail Audits with Extra Benefits

Retail audits have always been a paper-intensive activity. Beyond being extremely wasteful, this means they are also labor- and time-intensive, especially when it comes to transcribing data from sometimes thousands of forms so it can be analyzed. Additionally, the lag time between data collection at the store and report generation means that mission-critical issues such as out-of-stocks might not be known for days.

Merchandising software has revolutionized how retail audits are performed since they allow reps to answer questionnaires and perform other in-store activities right on their smartphones and tablets, eliminating the need for paperwork.

But it is not only the paper-saving aspect that makes merchandising software an excellent choice for those businesses who want to be environmentally-friendly: These applications also provide tools that translate into less wasted time and fuel.

So what should an environmentally-concerned business look for when implementing a merchandising software solution?

  • Ability to fully customize in-store activity forms in order to fully eliminate paperwork.
  • Visit scheduling, routing, and GPS verification to save in travel time and fuel, and eliminate fraudulent check-ins.
  • Real-time custom visit and task reports, allowing access to mission-critical information as soon as visits are finished.

VisitBasis merchandising software is a complete mobile data collection solution designed to build, schedule and monitor store activities in real time. It provides tools for all types of retail merchandising activities, including planogram checks, sets and resets, audits, inspections, surveys, POS asset management, training, product sampling, and demonstrations, among others, and allows instant access to captured data upon completion of visits.

See for yourself how VisitBasis can help your business become more environmentally-friendly: Schedule an online demo with our team or sign up for a free trial of our merchandising software!